Apparently there is a game farm, about one hour away, that has an overgrazing problem: the farmer’s animals are too happy and too many. Apparently the farmer is giving N/a’an Ku Se some of his animals. Among others: eland. Rudie (the boss of bosses; the owner of the place) likes his farm, his animals, getting new ones, darting them (for various reasons). He has a hunting thing. More on that in some other post. Anyway, the farmer said something on the lines of: “Whenever you want, you can come get some game and take it home”.
It’s not like going to the supermarket. You don’t drive there, back up, open the pickup, load the eland and drive back home.
The plan was the following. Drive to the farm early in the morning, look for the eland, dart it, load it, drive home.
The hitches were the following. “Early morning” became 11. We arrived there and the documents for transporting wild game hadn’t arrived. We waited. We got the documents. We got back on the pickups, and looked for the eland. We looked for the eland. We looked for the eland again. The farm was small, but the hills and the steep roads made it nearly impossible to scan completely.. We found the eland. The eland had seen us miles away and were already stampeding in the opposite direction. We followed. Found them again, but they were too far to dart. Rudie got off the car and followed them on foot, but couldn’t dart them because he was too far from the road.
So what? Will say most people.
You try carrying 1000kgs of wild animal down (or up!) a slope towards the pickup that’s ON THE ROAD. Even if you have 15 people with you, at best it will be impossible.
So where was I? Oh yes, Rudie on foot following escaping eland. Right. He then decided to stop and wait for them in a good place (close to the road), dart one, wait for us, load it and leave. Easy.
He waited in a good place. The eland went the opposite direction. He called us. We trudged up a hill, trying to scare the eland in his direction. It worked, they fled, we cheered, we went to Rudie…
And there he was. Alone. Had he shot the eland? Yes. Had he missed? Yes. Had he lost his dart? Yes. Was it now five pm and was the sun going to set in 30mins? Yes.
What is more difficult than looking for, darting, loading and carrying an eland back home?
Doing it in the dark.
We went home, without the eland. Tired, cold, hungry, but with a pickup-full of tales to tell.